Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W Review – A Tale of Two Top-Notch Car GPS Devices

garmin nuvi 255W

Technology has made driving an easier and safer experience, which is why it is no longer a dreaded chore for most people. Among others, one that makes driving less complicated is the use of the best car GPS device, which will provide detailed instructions on how to reach your destination.

When it comes to a GPS device, Garmin is one of the most popular manufacturers. Two of their well-loved models are Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W, which will be the focus of the rest of this post. Read on and learn more about what you can expect from these two top-notch navigation devices.

Outstanding Features of Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W

The discussions in this section will focus on some of the key features that you can find in Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W, which should make it easier for you to compare the two and decide on which one is the better choice.

Product FeaturesGarmin Nuvi 255WGarmin Nuvi 205W
Image garmin nuvi 255wgarmin nuvi 255w
Product Dimensions4.8 x 2.8 x 0.8 inches4.8 x 2.8 x 0.8 inches
Item Weight1 pounds6.1 ounces
Item model number010-00718-20010-00718-40
Batteries1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
Discontinued by manufacturerYesYes

Size and Weight

The physical dimensions of a GPS device will be important to determine how suitable it is for the dashboard of your car. Obviously, if you have a small car, a smaller GPS will be the perfect option, but the screen size should not be compromised.

In the case of Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W, they have the same size. Based on the technical specifications from the manufacturer, it has physical dimensions of 4.8 x 2.9 x 8 inches. They are also similar when it comes to weight, which is approximately 6.1 ounces.

Meanwhile, in terms of the screen size, they are both 4.3 inches. This is just the right size for a small car. This makes it compact, yet there is enough space to display relevant information and the map that you have to see when you are driving.


The Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W are not only similar in terms of the screen size but also their display. As with other Garmin GPS devices, you can be confident that you will have  a clear vision of what is on the screen, whether it is day or night. It will remain easy to see regardless of the external conditions.

The display type of both of the models being talked about in this article is both WQVGA color TFT with white backlight. The backlight is the one that makes the display easy to see throughout the day. Meanwhile, both of them have 480 x 727 pixels display resolution.

Touch-Sensitive Display  

Another thing that is important to highlight about the display of Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W is that they are both touchscreens. This makes it easy to input information and to use the device. You do not need to apply too much pressure on the screen to input the desired command.


Given the physical dimensions that have been mentioned earlier, these two GPS devices are also great in terms of their portability. With the latter, it can be used beyond the car. If you are walking in an unfamiliar city, you can take it with you and use it as a navigation device. Because it is sleek and compact, you can easily place it in your pocket.

Pre-Loaded Maps

Another thing that makes the two devices great is that they both have pre-loaded maps. Right out of the box, they already have City Navigator NT street maps. The maps have a database of several points of interest, which include hospitals, restaurants, gas stations, and hotels that are available on your chosen route.

Voice Prompts

With Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W, you will be able to enjoy voice commands. This means that your eyes do not have to be constantly glued to the screen when you are driving. It can be unsafe when you try to switch looking at the road and your navigation device. With voice commands, the unit will provide turn-by-turn directions in a voice that you can easily hear. The audio function makes it user-friendly.

Route Avoidance

Another reason to love the Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W is that you will have complete control on the route that you will be taking. After inputting your chosen destination, you can choose from several routes that are available and avoid those that you do not want to traverse. For instance, if you do not want to pass at an expensive toll gate, you will be able to easily avoid it.

Emergency Locator

The Where Am I Emergency Locator is another common feature that you can find in both Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W. With the latter, you will always be aware of your exact location. To activate this feature, all that you need to do is to touch the screen. After tapping, you will see your exact coordinates, which will pinpoint your actual location. You will also know some of the latest places of interests, such as a hospital and police station.

HotFix Satellite Prediction

This is one of the features that help to increase the accuracy and reliability of the GPS device. The two Garmin models discussed in this post have this technology. The latter decreases the time that is needed for signal acquisition, which also means that you will be provided with real-time information. The device will have the ability to predict the exact location of the satellite so that signal will be picked up quicker.


The battery is the source of power of the GPS, which makes it another important feature that we should be talking about. Longer battery life is always the better option, providing an assurance that the device can do more and that you will not get lost on the road.

The two models that we are comparing in this article both come with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. This is the common choice for a battery in portable consumer electronics. When the device is not used, such a battery has a slow self-discharge rate. When the batteries of Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W are fully-charged, they can last for up to four hours.

Expandable Memory

Another thing that makes the two GPS devices the same is their expandable memory. This will provide higher flexibility. Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W are both equipped with an SD card slot. The SD card, however, should be purchased separately as it is not included in the kit that you will purchase.

There are many ways by which an SD card can prove to be useful. For instance, it stores maps for accurate navigation. It also stores music so that you can listen to it while on the road, making sure that you will be entertained when you are driving.

Built-in Speakers

Both the Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W are also similar in such a way that they are equipped with a built-in speaker. With the latter, you can easily hear the audio from the device, such as when it is time to make a turn. Of course, you will also have the option to connect it to the audio system of your car, which will make the voice commands louder.

Anti-Theft Feature

To have peace of mind, both of the models are also incorporated with an anti-theft feature. This exists in the form of Garmin Lock, which has been developed by the manufacturer to make sure that it cannot be used in case of theft.

With the Garmin Lock, you will be able to set a 4-digit PIN. When you turn on the device, you have to enter the PIN to use it. You will also be able to set a security location. If in case you forgot the pin, all that you need is to be in the security location that you have entered or at least within 50 meters. This will automatically unlock the device.

Picture Viewer

The two GPS devices also have a Picture Viewer. You can store photos on a portable SD card, such as those from your camera. Insert the card into the slot and you can instantly view photos. This will immediately transform the device into a digital picture frame. Given the display resolution, you can expect that the pictures will be clear and crisp, although not as vivid as those models that you can find in the higher end of the market.


Both of these models are also equipped with 1,000 waypoints, making it the ultimate driving companion, providing the information that you need to know as you hit the road. In case you do not know, waypoints refer to the landmarks and locations that you can store in the device. When these locations are stored, you will be able to easily return to these places later on.

Automatic Rerouting

This is another feature that you can find in both Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W. This means that when you make the wrong turn, the GPS will automatically calibrate. The direction will instantly change based on your current direction. A new route will be designed even if you went out of the way of the initial route.


This is a fancy feature that you might not actually need, but it is a good thing that both Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W have it. You can use the device not only as a calculator but also as a currency converter. The latter will be a useful feature if you use it in a foreign country, such as during your holiday. It also comes with a measurement converter.

Lifetime Traffic Updates

Above, we have talked some of the things that are the same in the two models. Actually, they are almost similar and the differences are not that much. One of the most significant from their differences is the Lifetime Traffic Updates. It is free for Garmin 255W and not free for Garmin 205W.

Personally, I would prefer a device that is already packaged with a free lifetime traffic update. The latter means that you do not have to pay any subscription fee in the future just to update the map and make sure that it is accurate based on the currently available information.

Spoken Street Names

While it is a good thing that the two offers voice directions to let you know when you have to make turns, only one of the two models offer spoken street name. This is only the case with the Garmin 255W. The latter will speak the street names so that you can easily recognize the driving direction, one thing that you will not be able to find in Garmin 205W.

Hands-Free Calling

When driving, it is inevitable that there are some calls that you have to answer. With Garmin 255W, there is hands-free calling. This means that you can talk to someone over the phone without physically holding it. You will be able to take the call while your hand remains on the wheel, which is not only convenient but is also safer. However, with the Gamin 205W, this feature does not exist

What is Include

To conclude the discussion of the outstanding features of the Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W, let us quickly talk about the inclusions in the kit that you will purchase. In the case of both models, they include a vehicle suction mount cup, power cable, and quick start manual that contains everything that you need to know to make the most out of your GPS device

Garmin Nuvi 255W Pros and Cons

garmin nuvi 255WTo help you have a fair assessment, here are some of the good and bad things about this model:


Unobtrusive Screen Size: Similar to the other Garmin GPS that is discussed in this post, the screen is just the right size. This means that it is not too small or too big. The screen has just the right amount of space for the display, yet it won’t consume too much space on your dashboard.

Comes with Lifetime Traffic Updates: This is one of the reasons why it can offer excellent value for money. You will not have to pay a cent for traffic update, making sure that you will receive accurate information all the time.

Affordable: Considering the quality of the product and the features, it has an economical price. This is an ideal option for budget-conscious buyers who are unwilling to compromise quality in exchange for a product that is light on the pocket.


Does not Offer Lane Assist: It is common for GPS devices to provide advice on whether it is already time to change lane so that you won’t miss your turn. Sadly, this is one thing that you cannot find in this model.

Garmin Nuvi 205W Pros and Con

Garmin nuvi 205WMeanwhile, here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of using this model:


Durable: As it is made by Garmin, similar to the other products of the company, you can have peace of mind when it comes to durability. It is built to be tough, making sure that it will be able to withstand the test of time.

User-friendly: From initially setting up the unit to inputting directions, this is a user-friendly GPS. It is free of complications. It has basic features that can enhance your driving experience. It does not have bells and whistles that you won’t find useful.

Has Many Travel Tools: Like the Garmin 255W, this is also an excellent choice beyond navigation, making it useful in more ways than one. As discussed above, other features include currency converter and calculator.


Frequently Loses Signal: There are also some users who reported that the reliability of the product can be an issue. There are instances where the signal will be often lost, which makes it unable to provide real-time updates and directions.

Final Words  

Now that you are done reading this Garmin Nuvi 255W and Garmin Nuvi 205W review, we hope that you already know why these two products are among the best options you will find on the market. As you can see, they are similar in many ways. In fact, the differences are very few. With this, regardless of which one you pick, you can be confident that it can deliver superior performance and quality that is hard to match!

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